A Little Web Security Goes a Long Way

By Nolan Grayson posted 04-25-2014 06:22


As the opportunities to do business grows more and more each day in the world of ecommerce, it is easy to get swept up in the excitement of completing deals and transactions online. It is simple to focus on the many benefits the internet provides, but that same spirit of excitement and opportunity gets many individuals and companies into trouble. Just as you don’t leave your front door unlocked when you leave your home each morning, you must take preventative action to protect your valuable electronic data and information from being stolen, as well. Although the web presents a wealth of opportunities for businesses of all sizes to grow and prosper, it also brings the potential for cyber attacks, including data theft, for those who are not careful. 

Who is At Risk of Data Theft? 

If you own or work for a small business, you might think that your company is off the hook when it comes to cybercrime. Unfortunately, that is far from true, and cybercriminals target businesses of all sizes, from small corner shops to large corporate firms. When cybercriminals scour the web looking for targets, they focus on finding and exploiting weak spots in networks and systems with outdated or ineffective security measures. Therefore, it is not the size of the company that matters, but the ability (or inability) of a firm to defend its electronic resources from harm. 

Why is Business Security Such a Big Problem? 

Companies who conduct business online often focus on the benefits that the internet provides, and rarely stop to consider the risks they may face while engaging in ecommerce. They may have some basic security programs in place, but often do not take the time to install critical updates or periodically check to make sure those programs are working. Additionally, there is a general lack of education and awareness among presidents, CEOs, and employees of many firms, particularly small companies, of the risks they face while conducting business over the web. In Canada, for instance, according to Daddacool, nearly 50% of all small companies surveyed believed they face little or no harm from a security breach. That leaves a large number of Canadian companies, over two million, at risk of falling victim to loss of critical data. 

How to Prevent Loss of Business Data 

Fortunately, there are several ways to mitigate loss of data to cybercriminals. To protect your company’s valuable data, one of the simplest and most effective ways to defend your online assets is by having security software such as Immunet 3.0, Norton 360, Kaspersky etc. Of course, having a high-quality anti-theft software program is a good place to start, but you must also be vigilant about installing updates as needed to make sure the program is as effective as possible. 

It is also a good idea to establish a central location on your company’s network for management of confidential documents. Ideally, you should have one or two individuals in charge of managing and maintaining those files to avoid confusion of roles and responsibilities. To make it easier for the person or people in charge of watching over your company’s electronic files, you can use electronic and mobile apps to let them manage the network remotely. The Blackberry MDM management system is a top choice, and it is compatible for other mobile devices, including Androids, iOS smartphone’s, and tablets. 

If you have not already done so, another simple, but powerful, way to protect your company’s data is by setting up an internet firewall. Firewalls essentially screen traffic to your website, and distinguish good visitors from harmful ones. As with software programs designed to protect your data, these firewalls must be manually updated on a regular basis to make sure they are catching all potential electronic pathogens. While firewalls and anti-theft software programs are effective in protecting your company from harm when used separately, they should be installed and used together for the best electronic defense. 

Lastly, just as you periodically clean your home and office, you should clean out your network, too, to get rid of old, unused software and employee accounts, which contain stored data that may increase your business’s likelihood of being a web target. Before disposing of old hardware, you should always remove the data that it stores as well. 

The web brings tremendous opportunities for growth and visibility to many organizations. However, if you are not careful, your company’s electronic assets are at risk of attack from cybercriminals. Data theft and other security breaches threaten millions of companies every day. With several simple preventative actions, such as installing internet firewalls and software programs to prevent the loss of critical data, you can protect your company from harm on the web. 

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